Thursday, March 08, 2007

Irish Advance

No G-Mac, no Big East title for Syracuse. After the miracle run last year, Notre Dame stopped the Orange and advanced to the Semifinals in Manhattan, 89-83. Riding a big 2nd half (57 points) ND will play Georgetown tomorrow at 7.

Colin Falls scored 23 points and sure shot enough. 17 attempts from beyond the arc. The new Big East 3-point king needed only 7 of those to propell the Irish offense. 5 assists, 3 rebounds.

Russell Carter had 24. After riding the bench with 3 fouls early, Carter kept a pretty hot hand all game long. 6 rebounds to go along with a great scoring afternoon.

Tory Jackson can be a big time point guard. 8 points and 5 rebounds. More importantly, the freshman had 9 assists to only 2 turnovers and kept the Irish focused. McAlarney will have some competition for the starting PG slot next fall.

Kurz was very solid down low, 8 points/8 rebounds, but the player of the game was Luke Harangody. Bamm-Bamm stepped up to the plate big time. 20 points, 11 rebounds and provided the inside scoring to open up the shots for Colin and Russ. Against a 2-3, you have to have that guy who can get in between the holes in the zone. Luke was that player today. Congrats, rook.

Off the bench, Hillesland provided solid minutes as usual. 4 points, 4 rebounds. Luke Zeller had 2 and 2. Ryan Ayers missed a few shots. Coach of the Year Mike Brey kept his starters in the rotation, only using 6 players for more than 10 minutes.

For the 'Cuse, Roberts and Harris went nuts down low, with 20 and 15 rebounds respectively. As a team they outrebounded the Irish by 10. Same amount of turnovers, 11 fewer shots for ND, but the Irish made their living from 3-point range.

This should keep the Irish out of the 7-8 range in the NCAAs, but more importantly gives our guys another shot at G'Town on a neutral court. You know what you'll be doing tomorrow at 7.

Awesome, awesome game. I can go a bit deeper into the analysis, but I'll save it for tomorrow's Semifinal preview. Feels good to say, doesn't it? Go Irish!

For some additional enjoyment, check out the forums. Look, but don't touch.

I especially like this quote:

"That fat guy is only a freshman
He's a player. We're going to be cursing his Big Country look and back-ne for 3 more years"


BlackandGreen said...

Quick Hits:

23 regular season wins are the most since '85-'86.

Both Maryland and Alabama lost, so ND can officially no longer rely on a strong finish by either team to help the seed status.

Against G'Town previously, we had only one player in double figures scoring.

Craig said...

Yeah, I know what I'll be doing tomorrow... standing in the north dome cheering on the hockey team! ;)

(I'll definitely Tivo the basketball game, though... :)

c-stone said...

I've only watched the few nationally-televised ND games this year, and zero Syracuse games, so I don't know where to point the finger on this. But two significant problems for the Irish jumped out at me today:

1. In the paint, ND routinely gave up penetration by the guards and got absolutely killed on the offensive glass. It seemed the Orange had two, three putback attempts on every series.

2. I've never seen a team have more problems with the inbounds play, especially late. That nearly cost them the game. Shouldn't there always be a slight advantage to the offense (much like WRs/football) since the inbounding team knows where they are cutting and moving, while the defense is reacting? WTF?

ND67Aquajock said...

c-stone, give them a break! I think 'Cuse has the better athletes and I was frankly waiting for us to do our usual dive in the Garden. This team is playing way above it's natural abilities and the staff and players should have nothing but our praise and thanks for a great season, no matter what happens from here on in.

Anonymous said...

i loved the ron burgundy banter from the fellas calling the game. Also, Sean McDonough "greatly offended" by the Fighting Irish nickname. Bummer.

Go Irish!

BlackandGreen said...

Ha, I am feeling positive about yesterday's game and the rest of the season, but you do make a few valid points about the mistakes Notre Dame made against Syracuse.

#1 I'm not too worried about. Syracuse has some very talented athletic players who are going to be able to penetrate at times. The Irish were able to stop some of it, but not overpursue and leave open perimeter shots. Like the first matchup, the ND defense was forced to bend a little, but made up for it on offense.

Syracuse ended up with 10 more offensive rebounds than the Irish, with the same number of defensive boards. It is a bit worrisome, but has never been a consistent problem. I doubt we will see two Georgetown players combining for 35 total rebounds. If we do, indeed the Irish would be in trouble.

#2 has been a reoccuring problem, especially late in games. Yes, the offense should have the advantage when inbounding. That is what concerns me most of all. It could lead to a late collapse (like @ DePaul). It should be noted, however, that ND has overcome such mistakes and won close games alreadyt this year.